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Casual spinoff of The Helmand opens near Johns Hopkins Hospital

The Helmand Kabobi, a casual version of popular Afghan restaurant The Helmand, has opened its doors.

A casual spinoff of the popular Afghan restaurant The Helmand has opened its doors near Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Helmand Kabobi opened last week at 855 N. Wolfe St. in Baltimore's Middle East neighborhood. 

"It's pretty much almost like a casual version of the Helmand," owner Helmand Karzai said. "We'll offer a lot of the same stuff that made The Helmand what it is, but offer some other lighter, quicker stuff."

The menu includes lighter takes on the original Helmand menu, such as wraps with homemade naan, more soups and "more exotic street food," Karzai said. Appetizers start around $6 and entrees run $13 to $18.

For now the restaurant is only serving weekday lunch; it's open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Karzai said he plans to expand hours and add weekends, but the focus as the restaurant gets up and running is feeding the area's daytime work population.

Karzai said he was drawn to the area because he saw a lack of lunch options in the neighborhood.

"If there’s room for dinner business we’d love to do that, too," he said.

The restaurant, which seats about 100, has applied for a liquor license and plans to add drink service. 

In addition to the original Helmand on Charles Street, Karzai's family also owns Tapas Teatro, Pen & Quill and B Bistro.

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